Dedicated To The Outdoors


Ambush by Jon Bryan
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Lucky for me I had the wind on the skunk as it walked within twenty feet. It didn’t smell or see me, kneeling behind a big clump of buck brush and two mesquites, patiently waiting in ambush between a small turkey roost and a freshly plowed field. Hoping that both the skunk would move on, which it did, and some turkeys would move our way, which, minutes later, four hens did, made this apparent foolishness worthwhile.

The skunk missed Rick too, who was in another ambush position about forty yards to my right. We were enjoying the opening morning of Texas’ spring turkey season on Rick’s ranch, near Abilene. We had scouted the roost the previous evening and guessed that it held about a dozen or more birds. It had been eerie, in the pitch dark, walking along a ranch road, listening to the night sounds and then hearing the unmistakable sounds of the turkey’s “snoring”, a peculiar sawing or sighing sound that’s difficult to describe.

Silently, we were both still as rocks as the four hens walked within fifty feet of us! We hoped they would draw a tom or two close enough for us to get a shot. They walked on to the edge of the plowed ground and began nibbling away, and always, at least one would have its head up alertly scanning for danger, or maybe a boyfriend, and they all were making soft, clucking, hen sounds.

Sure enough, from our right oblique we heard the gobbles of several toms and soon, still gobbling, we saw them and they were an exciting sight to behold, chest feathers puffed out, gobbling, strutting, wings dragging and tension building in us! We remained frozen as the toms came closer.

Wild Tom Turkey Strutting

They came within sixty or so yards of us and stopped for a moment. Then they came on at about forty to fifty yards, kneeling down with my face lowered, it was hard to tell exactly, Rick jumped up and boom, boom, his twelve gauge barked twice. Down tumbled one of the big birds. Startled, the turkeys took wing right over me. I picked one out, swung, covered the bird’s head, boom, it crumpled. Then acquiring another, putting the bead on its nose, boom. Down it went, a double on turkeys, both of them flying!

Collecting our prizes, admiring their beards and marveling at the patterns of their coloration, we tossed the big birds over our shoulders and began the long trek back to Rick’s truck. Four shots, three turkeys down, not bad for a couple of Texas boys!

Having hunted for a long time and many times having “doubled” on doves, quail, ducks and geese, this was a first, and probably a last for me too! A thrilling, unusual situation and one that, chances are, wouldn’t be repeated! Of course, no pictures of this feat, but as is said, “I’d rather be lucky than good!”

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